NEW YORK — Capitals forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel was suspended for three games without pay for an illegal check to the head of Lightning defenseman Cal Foote in Tampa Bay’s loss Friday, the league’s Department of Player Safety announced Saturday.
The first game in Aube-Kubel’s suspension is Sunday against the Lightning at Amalie Arena.
Early in the second period Friday, Aube-Kubel put an open-ice, shoulder-to-head hit on Foote after Foote dumped the puck into the Washington zone on a rush. The high, hard hit with the head as the main point of contact was avoidable, the league said.
Foote left the game and didn’t return.
Aube-Kubel was ejected and assessed a match penalty, which is an automatic suspension pending review by the Department of Player Safety. Aube-Kubel had a department hearing Saturday, after which the suspension was announced.
After Friday’s game, Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Foote wasn’t good and likely wouldn’t play Sunday.
Foote’s injury was a factor in the suspension decision, the league said. Also a factor was that Aube-Kubel had been fined twice previously in his 178 career games.
Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement and based on his average annual salary, Aube-Kubel will forfeit $16,216.23 in pay. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Also Saturday, Lightning forward Pat Maroon was fined $2,702.70 and Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway was fined $4,054.05 by the league, both the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement, for unsportsmanlike conduct Friday.
The two fought while officials reviewed Aube-Kubel’s hit during a lengthy stoppage.
“That’s what Patty does,” Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said of Maroon. “He stands up for his teammates. He’s not going to take anything. That fired up the bench.”
Hathaway and Maroon were assessed major penalties for fighting and 10-minute misconducts.
Their fine money also goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Lightning claim Rudolfs Balcers from Panthers
The Lightning added another forward, claiming left wing Rudolfs Balcers off waivers from the Panthers.
Balcers, 25, played 14 games for the Panthers, averaging 10:55 of ice time and scoring two goals and two assists, including a goal in the Lightning’s 3-2 win over Florida on Oct. 21.
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The addition of Balcers gives the Lightning 13 forwards, and they didn’t need to make a corresponding move to clear roster space. Also, because the Lightning have saved cap space with both Anthony Cirelli and Zach Bogosian on long-term injured reserve, they have cap space to carry Balcers.
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